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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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" Two questions demand an answer. First, we have been told repeatedly
that Russia has virtual command of the air on the Eastern Front. Why, then,
should General Bor have had to write on 5th August that German bombers
were active and were operating with no interference from the Russian Air
Force ? Why were Russian machines not dropping the arms and ammuni-
tion that Warsaw needed. It may well be that other military considerations
were of so urgent a nature that no Soviet machines could be spared, but., if
that be true, then the second question arises. Why did our machines have
to fly this immensely long flight instead of being allowed to use Russian air-
fields which must have been in reasonably close proximity to Warsaw ? They
were denied the right to land on Russian aerodromes until fairly recently.
The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Eden) : " I am
sure that my hon. and gallant Friend does not wish to put the case wrong
and add to a difficult situation. There was never a question of our asking
for facilities on Russian airfields. Our flights were done from Italy direct."
Sir A, Souttiby : " I., of course, accept my right hon. Friend's correction.
I should have said United States* aircraft were refused the right to land . . .
On 29th August the R.A.F. did a 2,000-mile flight in bad weather in order
to assist the Russian army by bombing the Baltic ports of Stettin and
Koenigsberg, and the operation cost us 41 aircraft. If we could do this to
help our Russian Ally, surely they could have found some machines to fly
the infinitely shorter distance to Warsaw ? "
After the fall of Warsaw, the British Prime Minister on October 5 paid
tribute to the population of the capital and to that same Army,, which^
recognised by Britain and the United States, was steadily being exter-
minated by the Soviets :
" I have a statement to make, I am sure that I arn expressing the feelings
of the House, as well as those of His Majesty's Government, in paying
tribute to the heroic stand of the Polish Home Army and of the Polish
civilian population at Warsaw. Their resistance to over-whelming odds
under inconceivable conditions of hardship, came to an end on 3rd October,
after a fight which had lasted 63 days. Despite all the efforts of the Soviet
Army, the strong German positions on the Vistula could not be taken, and
relief could not corne in time. British, American,, Polish and Soviet airmen
did what they could to succour the Poles at Warsaw, but, although this
sustained the Polish resistance beyond what would have seemed possible
it could not turn the tide. In the battle for Warsaw., terrible damage has
been inflicted upon that noble city, and its heroic population has under-gone
sufferings and privations unsurpassed even among the miseries of this war.
" The final fall of Warsaw, at a time when Allied Armies are everywhere
victorious, and when the final defeat of Germany is in sight, must corne as
a very bitter blow to all Poles. At such a moment I wish to express our
respect to all those Poles who fell, fought or suffered at Warsaw and. our
sympathy with the Polish nation in this further grievous loss. Our confid-
ence that the days of their tribulation are rapidly drawing to an end is un-
shakable. When the final Allied victory is achieved, the epic of Warsaw
will not be forgotten. It will remain a deathless memory for the Poles3
and for the friends of freedom all over the world."
The early days of October found the British Premier once again on a
pilgrimage to Moscow. The Russians ignoring their assurances at
Teheran that they would keep clear of that part of the Balkans predestined
to be within the British sphere of influence, were pushing forward. The